27 files at your fingertips
By BILL BODENSTEIN
With Multi-AUTORUN you can automatically load as many as 27 binary AUTORUN files under DOS 2 or DOS 2. 5. This BASIC program works on all 8-bit Atari computers of any memory size, with disk drive.
I love writing utility programs, especially those requiring little time and effort to construct. Such was the case with this short BASIC program. But after I write a program, I tend to have a hard time explaining what it is good for.
It seems as if most machine language programs you find in the pages of Antic work only as AUTORUN.SYS files. But unfortunately, the commonly used Atari DOS 2.0 and 2.5 can only binary-load one AUTORUN file at start-up. Wouldn't it be nifty if you could make DOS load a chain of binary files when booting? If your answer is "yes" type in Listing 1, MULTIAUT.BAS, check it with TYRO II and SAVE a copy before you RUN it.
When you RUN the program, Multi-AUTORUN will ask you if you are sure you wish to modify your DOS. Type Y to continue, or N to abort. Next, insert your disk into drive and press [RETURN]. This program writes information to your disk, so you should remove any writeprotect tabs from your disk.
Don't use Multi-AUTORUN directly on the Antic Monthly Disk. Instead, copy the DOS.SYS file (version 2.0 or 2.5) from any source to a new work disk.
Be Careful: Multi-AUTORUN will not work for all batches of AUTORUN files. For example, if one AUTORUN file is written to work with BASIC installed and a second file isn't, you will obviously run into trouble. Also make sure that you are not loading several AUTORUNs that wan to occupy the same part of memory at same time.
HOW IT WORKS
Multi-Autorun inserts a machine language patch into the DOS routine that loads AUTORUN.SYS. Once modified, your new Atari DOS will binary-load AUTORUN.SYS, AUTORUN1.SYS, AUTORUN2.SYS, etc., in succession, up to AUTORUN9.SYS or until it receives a "file not found" error. That is, if no file named AUTORUN.SYS is found, DOS won't even check for AUTORUN1.SYS. Therefore, always name your start-up files in correct sequence to ensure proper loading.
The patch is only about 50 bytes long, so you won't lose much memory or much compatibility with machine language programs stored in low memory. In fact, you'll lose perhaps one sector on your disk with this modifcation.
By the way, once you've modified DOS, you can use the WRITE DOS FILES option from the DOS menu to modify other disks--you only need to run the BASIC program once.
GET 27 AUTORUNS
You could also use the letters of the alphabet instead of numbers to get even more AUTORUN files.
Just start with an A in place of the 1 in AUTORUN 1.SYS and you could have as many as 27AUTORUN files on one disk. The program will load AUTORUN.SYS, AUTORUNA.SYS, AUTORUNB.SYS, and so on.
To try this version of the program, simply replace the 48 in lines 520 and 530 with a 64. Make sure to RUN this version of the program with an unmodified Atari DOS in memory.
I hope I've clearly explained what Multi-AUTORUN is good for, because I've just now thought of an idea for another short utility program...
Bill Bodenstein, a computer science major at the university of Cincinnati, is a prolific machine language programmer churning out utilities left and right.
Listing: MULTIAUT.BAS Download